from the no-static-at-all dept.
Silviu Stahie reports via Softpedia
Many of the new SoC solutions [...] have FM Radio functionalities, but Google doesn't provide any kind of API for Android devices. It's basically just something that some companies could implement if they had the time or the drive to do it properly.
[...] Most [...] things are usually difficult when [they haven't] been done before. It's true that Radio FM functions have been available on older devices, but modern devices are not doing it, so there is little to no documentation on how to proceed.
A developer from the community is now working to get this function working on Ubuntu phones, and he's already enlisted the help of the Ubuntu developers. As it turns out, this has been talked about before, but for now, it's not a high priority.
Some of the Ubuntu phones, like the two BQ devices that are now available on the market, have Mediatek hardware and they are capable for[sic] Radio FM functions--at least in theory. What's more interesting, is that they should also be able to transmit, not only to receive.
"MediaTek (Aquaris E4.5 and E5) decided to implement custom kernel drivers with a custom character device (/dev/fm) and custom ioctl commands. There seem to be userspace libraries (libfm*) including a JNI wrapper in /system/lib of the Android container on our Ubuntu phones", developer sturmflut wrote on the official mailing list.
The ideal situation would be to allow users to initialize and tune the FM radio on the Aquaris E4.5 and E5 devices and to link this functionality to the media hub. It will take a while, but it's quite possible that FM Radio will be one of the numerous features that you can only find in Ubuntu phones.
Last Summer, Jack Wallen at TechRepublic reported:
[More after the break.]
- AT&T to activate FM Radio chips next year
What if you want to hear a local radio personality? Or want to hear your local NPR channel? What if you happen to be in a college town and want to enjoy the hippest tunes spinning off the platters of the alt college station?
[...] If your carrier is AT&T, you wait until next year when every Android device with the AT&T logo will be sold with their FM chips activated. That's right, good old FM radio is set for a mobile comeback.
...or as much of a comeback as the aging technology can.
[...] According to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), this will open up an entire world to a technology that has been so desperately in need of a boost. Consider this: FM broadcast radio will now enjoy song tagging. This could wind up being a massive boon for the music industry.
Consider this: You're listening to FM radio on your Android device and a song comes on that you fall in love with. You immediately tag the song and then, say, Amazon opens so that you can purchase the song, or Spotify opens so you can add it to a playlist.
[...] [Additionally, say] you're walking along listening to FM radio and an emergency is pushed to your device giving you detailed information on the threat as well as what to do. That's important stuff and should be a part of mobility.
This plan was actually put in place years ago and groups like FreeRadioOnMyPhone.org had planned on filing an anti-trust suit to get a mandate from Congress. Now, it seems as if that's not going to be necessary.
[...] Once this happens. AT&T users will be able to make use of apps like NextRadio to deliver free FM broadcasts to their devices.
Of course, this isn't the first such deal. Sprint had already inked something similar to light up FM radio chips to prove the concept could work. But the deal with AT&T is the first such agreement with a large-scale carrier. [One also hopes that] the remaining carriers will come on board with this.
Do any Soylentils see immediate use cases in your areas? Any negatives to having this enabled that you perceive?
 If someone can identify the 1 script to whitelist in order to see the content (out of the 27 embedded in that page), that would be useful. I don't have the patience for pages constructed by idiots who don't understand "Degrades gracefully".
The Government of Norway announces
[April 16], the Ministry of Culture announced a national FM-switch off, to complete the transition to digital radio. Norway is making [a] historical move into a new radio era, being the first country in the world to decide upon an analogue switch-off for all major radio channels. With DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) and digital radio, listeners will be provided with more radio channels and greater diversity in content.
[...]The DAB-coverage in Norway now exceeds FM-coverage. DAB provides Norway with 22 national channels, as opposed to five channels transmitting nationwide on FM.
[...]Switch-off starts in Nordland county 11th January 2017 and ends with the northernmost counties Troms and Finnmark [13th December] 2017.
El Reg reports
With digital reaching its audience targets, the government set a 2017 date for the death of analogue FM radio in [Norway].
[...]However, the Norwegian Local Radio Association disputes the communications ministry's figure, pointing instead to Norwegian Government Statistical Bureau data that "listening to DAB radio is presently limited to 19% on a daily basis."
In an e-mail sent to Vulture South [El Reg's Australian operation], the association says the Minister of Culture's announcement swept up DVB-T and Internet radio to claim that "digital listening" had hit the 50 per cent target that triggers an FM switch-off.
The association also notes that an all-DAB nation would provide a lot less service to motoring tourists without digital radios in their cars. "This proposed change means that most visitors will not be able to listen to national channels or public radio for emergency alerts, traffic or other important information", the group said in a media release e-mailed to El Reg. It claims that a focus on large broadcasters would leave FM investments by community radio stranded.
The local broadcasters are backed by the Progress Party, a partner in the coalition government in Norway, [as well as by] the Greens.
Samsung says it will be unlocking the FM chips in its future smartphones:
Samsung and NextRadio on Wednesday announced the handset-maker will begin shipping phones in the US and Canada with the FM radio chip unlocked. Currently, Samsung was shipping some devices with the FM radio access unlocked, while others (often dependent upon carrier whims) had a locked FM radio chip.
An unlocked FM radio chip in a smartphone not only provides free access to local radio stations, but also, in emergency situations, access to important information.
What is NextRadio?
Emmis Communications is an American media conglomerate based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company owns radio stations and magazines in the United States and Slovakia.
[...] The NextRadio smartphone app was developed by Emmis, with support from the National Association of Broadcasters, to take advantage of mobile devices with activated internal FM receivers. NextRadio allows users of select FM-enabled smartphones to listen to live broadcast FM radio while receiving supplemental data such as album art, program information, and metadata over the internet. Launched in August 2013 through a radio industry agreement with Sprint Corporation, the app is available preloaded on select devices it is also available for download in the Google Play Store.
Do you need to use their app to access the FM chip? The press release says:
Market leaders like Samsung are taking the step of unlocking the FM Chip, which will allow Samsung users to connect directly with the NextRadio app, listen to their favorite local stations, and use less battery and less data than streaming radio apps.
Take "unlocked" with a grain of salt.